I found myself doing the unthinkable the other day. I got out of the shower, looked at the clothes I had laid out for myself the night before, and then went straight for a sweatsuit. Fortunately, my oldest daughter, Kelsey, came in when I was getting dressed.

"No, Mama," she said. "You are not going to go 'sweatsuit' on me."

She was right. I put away the sweatsuit and instead got dressed in the leggings, sweaterdress, and boots I had laid out the night before. Winter has a way of driving us into hibernation. All we want to do is just cuddle up in our flannels with a cup of cocoa. Well, I am NOT one to downplay the magic of flannels and cocoa, but I also know there is a time and a place for everything. With a mom's busy life, we need to save the flannels and the sweatsuits for a lazy Saturday or maybe in the evenings when we cuddle up on the sofa with a good book (or a good husband). But for our work days--which is practically every day--we need to dress like we mean business. As a rule, your productivity level matches your wardrobe choices. I know it's winter, but don't 'go sweatsuit' on me. Instead, try out these fashion must-haves for the chilly season.

Boots--You've got to have a pair! I'm not talking heels, here. I'm talking about stable, fashionable boots that are comfortable. Boots that you can wear all day and do laundry, change diapers, dust furniture, and take out the trash. I have one brown pair and one black pair that I practically live in during the winter. One I got from Land's End four years ago and they are still holding up just fine and the other I got from T.J.Maxx at a ridiculously low price. You don't have to have a ton of boots, just two or three pairs that will take you through the winter in high style.

Leggings--It looks like the 80s are back; and there's not much we can do about it. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Leggings are a super inexpensive way to supplement your wardrobe. Plus, they are stretchy, so they are very forgiving after that holiday meal splurge. Get some solid, basic colors that you can wear under skirts and dresses. If you are wearing them with boots, it's a good idea to make sure your hemline is above your knee. It looks a lot more streamlined and stylish. You can also go for jeggings (leggings that look like jeans) and wear them under casual dresses or long shirts.

Jacket--Even if it's just a run to the store, don't wear that big, fat hoodie. Instead, opt for a nice, heavy coat that pulls an entire outfit up to the next level. I have a solid, black pea coat that I got from Old Navy a couple of years ago when they were all half price at the end of the season. I wear it everywhere. A nice coat looks sharp and doesn't have to break the bank.

Cardigans--These are one of my biggest go-to fashion staples. I always throw one over a t-shirt and skirt or button up a long one over leggings. These are definitely essential. They can turn a simple t-shirt and blue jeans into a trendy outfit. Get some basic colors and add them to your outfits to push the style up to the next notch.

Dresses--I still can't understand why more moms don't wear dresses. I practically LIVE in them. They are stylish, easy, and comfortable. I'm not talking about dowdy dresses, here, so put away the denim jumpers. I'm talking about fashionable dresses, and there are plenty of them out there. Next time you are out shopping, by pass the sweatpants and head over to the racks of casual dresses. You will probably pay about the same price, but make such a bigger fashion statement.

Just to tell you how easy it is to dress stylishly, let me tell you a quick story from my own life. One morning, I was feeling especially frumpy. I had a cold and I didn't even feel like taking a shower. I wanted to stay in my jammies, but instead, I reached in my closet and pulled out on of my most comfy, casual dresses. I pulled all my (unwashed) hair back in a bun and stuck a rhinestone headband on top. Then I pulled a long, jeweled, necklace out of my jewelry box and threw it on with some dangling earrings. When I went to pick up my daughter from her class, a mom came up to me in a sweatsuit and said, "Oh my goodness! What's the occasion? You look all dressed up and pretty." I just smiled and said, "Nothing, really, just a great day to be a mom." What she didn't know is that I totally felt "sweatsuit" inside but was just as comfortable in my dress and jewelry as I would have been if I had opted for the sweatsuit. It doesn't take much, it just takes practice. Try taking that little extra measure today. It's worth it!

Author's Bio: 

Hannah Keeley is an author, lifestyle expert, television personality and mother of 7. To find out how to start living your best life, check out her 5 Minute Mom coaching program at www.5minutemom.com.